About Avo OrangeAdventure • Vehicles • Operations
We know you are wondering: why the name Avo Orange?
It all comes down to how we started:) Avo stands for Adventure Vehicle Operations. Our beloved Wasabi, a 16 seat overland legend, carried adventurers to the Orange River for rafting. For fun, we switched the colours to mix it up a bit (did you notice?)
In terms of our ethos, we have three main aims – and each of them is a top priority:
- To offer the best of personal service to all of our clients, and THE most fabulous overland itineraries, that offer the best possible value for money
- To be a preferred employer of drivers and guides. We have the most amazing crew and our aim is to look after them!
- To respect the people and environments we visit – without exception! Please read our sustainability policy for further information
To find out more about who we all are as individuals, please read on below.
TED & ERICA – Owner operators
Around the time that group travel in Africa was just starting out, and backpacking around using local matatu’s was about all that was available, a young man decided that he’d had enough of industrial sales and needed a new gig.
He came across an ad in the newspaper (google wasn’t even a concept yet) and jumped on board an Epic truck for what would turn out to be a life-changing adventure. Somewhere between Cape Town and Victoria Falls, he knew that this was it. He dropped the condo on the beach and the fancy wheels for a job as a driver with one of the pioneering overland companies, leading one of their first 50-day tours from Cape Town to Kenya.
Around that time, a certain young lady was feeling the same about her PR job in Australia’s nether-regions. When her best buddy phoned with an offer to join him and his brother on an overland trip she didn’t think twice. This, she imagined, would take place on a flatbed truck, where they would hitch a ride with Kenyans and other travellers, heading from Cape Town to Nairobi.
No prizes for guessing who her driver turned out to be.
In the intervening years, the two guided together, managed campsites, went to the UK – and returned quickly. In 2008, the two returned to their roots and bought their first overland truck, starting a small overland company.
Ten years later, the industry has changed radically. Tarmac has replaced bumpy, potholed, barely-road gravel. Whatsapp has taken over from emails and faxes, and chain supermarkets have turned up in capital cities.
What hasn’t changed is the fun and adventure that overland travel is; whether on an old-school truck, or an air-conditioned combi, Africa is still Africa and the adventure is what you make of it.
It has been an absolute privilege to begin when we did. We do what we love and love what we do and while there have been changes; overlanding in Africa is still an absolute adventure, a joy and an interesting challenge.
Erica and Ted
BARRY & MARIETTE VENTER – Crew
Six-generation South African Barry started in overlanding in 1997. He has worked with many operators, but has settled on the two that feel “most like home” to him and his wife Mariette – Avo Orange being one of them.
“To be out in nature and to be able to share experiences with people of similar interest is a privilege and a joy to me,” Barry says.
Barry met his wife Mariette, while on an overland trip. Mariette was doing a private tour with friends and the two clicked immediately. Mariette’s hospitality on safari and her cooking skills – she herself being a vegetarian – are legendary.
Affectionately referred to as “Bariette” by many of our clients, this dream team runs our scheduled tours to Mozambique, and many of our private safaris.
JAIROS BIZA – Crew
Growing up in Harare, Jairos trained as an engineer, but had a heart for the open expanses. He soon joined a lodge where he worked as a field guide for two years. When the lodge closed down in 1999 it made sense to Jairos to join up with one of the overland companies he read about in magazines. This he did first as a guide, and later as a driver.
While Harare remains his favourite place, the rich culture and values of Namibia and Tanzania rank these countries a close second for his affections.
His top moment on tour is having the privilege to witness nine lions bringing down a giraffe – a feat which took almost an hour.
As father to a teenage daughter, a well-seasoned traveller and experienced guide, the best advice he can offer to any overland traveller is to always take the advice of your guide; and to ask many questions. There is no such thing, he says, as silly questions while on an overland trip!
SAM KADONZVO – Crew
Sam, who hails from Harare, started in tourism in 1992 with a local company, initially as a day-tour guide, and later leading camping safaris with a pioneering overland company, in Zimbabwe.
Seeking new adventure, he joined another company to venture into Mozambique, wild and unchartered, to Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, and all southern African countries.
Sam’s greatest joy in overlanding, other than the sights and cultures, is meeting new people from very different walks of life to his. A father to four children, Robert, Ronald, Rodney and Ropafadzo, Sam does miss his family while on the road, but he views his job as an absolute privilege.
Sam first came across overlanding when he met an operator in the very early days, who explained to him that he was building trucks to take passengers on camping safaris. Sam worked in the workshop with this pioneer until he completed his guiding courses, eventually also earning his driving qualifications.
Sam’s favourite country, other than home, is Namibia because of its great diversity. “For sure every corner you go is different” he says. His personal highlights are the desert and particularly the Fish River Canyon. The town of Luderitz also holds a fascination for him.
Much like Jairos, the advice Sam offers is TTG: always Trust the Guide! They have been around for quite some time, he says, and can always find the best solution to any challenge.